A Man of the People


By the renowned author of “Things Fall Apart,” this novel foreshadows the Nigerian coups of 1966 and shows the color and vivacity as well as the violence and corruption of a society making its own way between the two worlds.


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 Chinua Achebe’s fourth novel, “A Man of The People”, is a book of political, social, economic and moral contrasts. Written in first person, the books invites readers to experience the flow of emotions, fears, tensions, suspense and the pain that Odili, the main character in the book, undergoes.

At the center of the plot is the conflict between Chief Nanga, a politician cum Minister of Culture and Odili Samalu, a teacher, and erstwhile pupil of the Minister. Their differences at many levels – culture, lifestyle, politics – are symbolic of the generational divide between the young (represented by Odili) and the old (represented by Nanga).

Chief Nanga invites Odili over to his place. It is here that Odili has a deep soul searching on how the politicians in this society enrich themselves through corruption and engage in other forms of moral decadence without second thoughts. Elsie, Odili’s girlfriend, is so excited by the immense affluence of Chief Nanga that she ends up sleeping with him. On learning that Elsie has slept with Chief Nanga, Odili is worked up. Ignoring the Minister’s attempts to appease him with promises to get him other women to sleep with, Odili resolves to seek revenge by all means. So, Odili casts the first stone by expressing interest in Chief Nanga’s seat, and is set to run against him during the elections. He is also determined to woo Edna, Chief Nanga’s wife-in-waiting.

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